Friday, August 12, 2011

“You are about to enter hell, Bartolome...HELL!”

Back in June, when Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear hosted its Roger Corman Blogathon, I considered doing a write-up of my favorite film in the director’s critically-acclaimed “Poe” cycle: Pit and the Pendulum.  The 1961 horror classic, loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s  1842 short story, premiered in theaters on this date fifty years ago and since I already knew that I’d be discussing the film at Edward Copeland on Film…and More, I decided to go with A Bucket of Blood (1959).  I consider Pendulum to be the best of the Corman Poe films, even though other films like The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965) are certainly worthy candidates for that honor as well.

I’m going to have to sit out a blogathon that’s been announced on September 15th by Mercurie at A Shroud of Thoughts; that date will mark the 95th natal anniversary of British actress Margaret Lockwood, and so Shroud has arranged for a ‘thon to honor the woman whose cinematic resume includes classics such as Doctor Syn, The Lady Vanishes, The Stars Look Down, Night Train to Munich, The Man in Grey, The Wicked Lady and Cast a Giant Shadow…and on the boob tube side, the long-running Yorkshire Television/ITV legal drama Justice.  Previous commitments and a Radio Spirits project will put the kibosh on my participation but I did want to make sure that interested people got a heads up if they’d like to kick in something.

One of those commitments is the Classic Movie Blog Association’s Guilty Pleasures Blogathon, which has been announced for September even though the official date is still written down in pencil because the CMBA is waiting to see who’s planning to sign up for it (I think they had twelve “count me in’s” at last check).  My policy on “movies so bad they’re good” is that while I’m certainly not opposed to sitting down and watching one I prefer not to spend a great deal of time analyzing them because there are too many good movies out there I’ve yet to see.  But a participant in Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear’s Monster Mash blogathon (yes, I am aware that I seem to be shilling quite a bit for Nate’s blog in this post—I hope my check is in the mail) gave me an idea for a film to write about for the CMBA ‘thon—the 1939 cliffhanger classic The Phantom Creeps.  (Two words that will lighten the hearts of any guilty pleasure film fan: “Bela Lugosi.”)

Speaking of too many good movies out there I’ve yet to see (smooth as glass, I tells ya) I was able to get a glance at one of my cinematic Holy Grails this morning—thanks to a tip from my good friend Kliph Nesteroff at Classic Television Showbiz; the 1949 fantasy-film noir classic Alias Nick Beal has been uploaded to YouTube so in case you haven’t seen it (why this amazing film isn’t available on DVD remains a mystery for the ages—stylish, inventive direction by John “Mia’s dad” Farrow and outstanding performances from Ray Milland, Thomas Mitchell, George Macready and TDOY goddess Audrey Totter) you should probably watch it before the YouTube police raid the joint.

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Rachel said...

Alias Nick Beal is great, isn't it? A truly underrated noir with one of the best Milland performances I've ever seen. Plus the talents of Mitchell and Totter. Not to be missed.

KC said...

Thanks for the tip on Alias Nick Beal. I'll hurry on over to catch it!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Rachel pounded the table for emphasis:

A truly underrated noir with one of the best Milland performances I've ever seen.

I think it just may be the best movie role Ray ever got. Sure, he won the Oscar for The Lost Weekend, and while I like him and the movie I don't find him a particularly sympathetic protagonist (which may or may not have been Billy Wilder's intention). (I do get a kick out of watching him squirm, though.)